Guide Dogs posts record income of £117.7m

Its accounts for last year suggest the charity bucked a trend by increasing income from both donations and legacies

Guide Dogs recorded a record income of £117.7m in 2018, its latest accounts show.

The accounts, which cover the year to 31 December 2018, reveal that income rose £9m from 2017.

The latest income figures represent an increase of almost £43m on 2013, when income for the charity was at £74.9m.

The rise appears to have been due to income from donations and legacies, which rose from £98.1m to £107m in 2018, bucking a recent trend for the largest charities, according to Third Sector research.

Third Sector’s analysis of the 155 charities that make up the Charity Brand Index – a list that includes Guide Dogs – found that the total fundraising income across the top charities fell by £300m to a combined £4.8bn.

Guide Dogs experienced increases in community fundraising, donor-based fundraising, corporate and trust income, and legacies, according to its 2018 accounts.

The accounts also show that total spending fell slightly, from £106.7m in 2017 to £106.3m in 2018.

This happened because of a £5m fall in spending on raising funds, including a £5.9m drop in expenditure on donor-based fundraising, the accounts show.

A statement from Guide Dogs said: "Over the last few years we have been successfully investing in signing up new regular-giving donors.

"The success of those previous investments meant that we have been able to reduce the amount invested in fundraising in 2018 by 11 per cent.

"Guide Dogs will continue to invest in fundraising as required to meet the costs of delivering our new strategy, By My Side."

The strategy includes an ambition to reach and support 500,000 blind and partially sighted people by 2023.

The charity said its 10,000th puppy was born at its national training centre in 2018, just seven years after the centre was opened.

The value of the charity’s total assets rose to £123.1m in 2018, up from £113.5m, with general funds accounting for £72.7m of the total.

The accounts also show that the salary of the highest earner at the charity increased from between £130,001 and £140,000 to between £170,001 and £180,000.

The identity of the highest earner is not revealed in the accounts, but the charity’s chief executive, Tom Wright, was appointed in September 2017 and had his first full year at the charity during 2018.

Guide Dogs confirmed that the change in chief executive during 2017 accounted for the difference in the pay for its highest earner between the two sets of accounts.

"As with all our executive roles, we use sector pay benchmarks provided by the Korn Ferry Hay Group to ensure that the level of remuneration for our chief executive is comparable with similar roles within organisations of a similar size within the sector," the statement said.

"Actual remuneration levels for the chief executive and our executive directors are set by trustees using these benchmarks and roles are independently validated."

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